In This Article

Constant security concerns and ever-changing global compliance regulations require traditionally risk-averse global financial organizations to focus on innovation and employee experience in order to stay competitive in a post-pandemic world. 

Historically, firms reduced risk by keeping all their infrastructure and data within the bank's premises, or "on-prem." However, the urgency of business continuity during the pandemic led to rapid deployment of cloud services to support employees' and customers' ability to connect from anywhere, while maintaining security and compliance. 

Firms are still finding their footing in this new world, and some have different takes on the matter. Leaders of several leading investment banks are calling for, "Everyone to get back to the office," while others are offering hybrid arrangements to lure top talent their way. With technology and cultural evolution regarding how and where work gets done it's unlikely that a five-day workweek will be the norm again in the financial world.

The hybrid work model: what once was a mere fantasy for most employees at financial firms is now becoming commonplace. Let's take a look at some valid reasons why hybrid work was once a pipedream:

  • Calling for back office and trading floors and their associated applications all resided on-premises.
  • Using hard devices, calls were recorded in countries that required compliance and needed to be stored.
  • Compliance, security and voice quality concerns made working from home or secondary locations impossible.
  • Disaster recovery sites were costly, provided limited coverage and needed to be maintained while only being used if the main location was not accessible.
  • Video in meeting rooms was rare or non-existent on trading floors.
  • Video-to-user desktops were unheard of not so long ago.
  • Users joined meetings via a toll-free dial-in bridge.
  • TDM trunks for voice were still prevalent, with migration to VoIP SIP trunks underway.

Hybrid work is now a reality. But to enable this new paradigm, financial firms' calling and meeting infrastructures demanded a major overhaul. Through rapid technology innovation and the inarguable benefits of the cloud, there are a new crop of calling and meeting solutions and related tools that are able to adequately support the hybrid work model while adhering to the security and compliance standards financial organizations require. 

Let's take a closer look at how this all is starting to take shape…

Calling

Until recently, a hard desk phone was a necessity.  The primary utilization of soft clients for trading turrets was not feasible. Soft clients did not have the level of functionality or performance needed to support the banking community's digital experience on desktops, mobile or tablet devices; nor did they have encryption features to meet security and compliance requirements. 

Storage of calls can be maintained on-prem, and now, increasingly in the cloud.  However, voice recording has typically spanned multiple platforms along with legacy systems needed to be maintained for legal purposes. Services are now available to consolidate legacy recordings onto a cloud-based service for playback while being migrated to newer compatible hardware. 

Hybrid work requires the soft client mobile, desktop, laptop and virtual devices to have the same levels of experience, security, and compliance as an on-prem desk phone. There are impressive soft client solutions available, and WWT serves global financial organizations in selecting, procuring and deploying the right solution. Jason Young, one of WWT's foremost UC experts, offers a helpful view on cloud calling vs traditional PBX, and how it can be deployed to significantly reduce cost of ownership, increase agility while providing a seamless experience for your employees.

Meetings

Not so long ago, meetings typically used a dial-in bridge with screen sharing, while direct IP connectivity was reserved for conference rooms.  Today, with services like Zoom, MS Teams and WebEx, calling is provided through an IP with dial-in as a backup for poor internet service. Authentication, encrypted traffic and voice recording are all supported on remote endpoints, which lends to a seamless, secure and compliant experience for hybrid workers.

Unfortunately, having multiple meeting platforms has created interoperability issues, making the experience too complex for the average user. To add onto the complexity, firms that have standardized a meeting platform will be interacting with customers and suppliers that may be using different platforms. In order to accommodate interoperability between multiple meeting platforms, new meeting room endpoints have been developed to provide native support. 

Meeting applications, by default, do not limit info-sharing, which can lead to compliance issues; however, the top three meeting platforms have controls to set information barriers, helping . For a deeper understanding of meetings, we encourage our customers to engage WWT experts in a complimentary briefing call

Capex vs. Opex

On-prem systems require maintenance, patching and talent to support them, and large financial outlays for upgrades when hardware reaches end of life (EOL). One executive referred to global calling system upgrades as, "painting a bridge," since, once you are done painting a bridge or upgrading a global calling system, you have to start again. 

Firms are looking to utilize phone and meeting platforms-as-a-service with a subscription model for a more cost effective way to provide service to a large number of users and required capacity. In response, calling and meeting platform vendors have moved to a subscription model to support on-prem and cloud deployments. But the shift to the subscription model poses a new challenge regarding  adoption.  Further, training and usage monitoring is required to get the most value out of this new model. 

Observability

In addition to having to support and secure an increasingly mobile workforce, IT teams are asking themselves, "how do we ensure a consistent, positive user experience?" With new calling and meeting clients, devices, and services, new and existing tool sets need to be updated and deployed to interoperate with the current infrastructure.  Many customers have legacy tools or dashboards to monitor applications that do not meet the need of newer platforms. WWT specializes in helping organizations integrate the right automation and observability platforms to minimize errors and risk, increase monitoring and visibility and enhance remote collaboration and employee experience.

Recent WWT Customer Initiatives

Global financial organizations are turning to WWT to help enable hybrid work with callings and meetings. Our work includes helping clients with:

  • Testing of global calling estate in WWT's Advanced Technology Center (ATC).
  • Attendant console application testing in the ATC.
  • Calling subscription renewals to support on-prem and cloud calling.
  • Migrating video endpoints to connect to cloud services instead of on-prem resources.
  • New endpoints for MSFT teams meeting rooms.
  • Voice recording of MSFT Teams.
  • Observability of Zoom, MSFT Teams, and Cisco WebEx.

Recommended Action Items

There is no simple roadmap that meets the needs of all financial firms as they look to mature calling and meetings.  Fortunately, WWT brings expertise and experience from helping the world's largest financial organizations innovate and enable world class digital experiences. Some next steps we can take to help your organization get started are:

  1. Move calling to soft clients while supporting security and compliance.
  2. Automate UC provisioning.
  3. Upgrade meeting room endpoints to support capability to join any meeting, i.e., MS Teams, Webex, Zoom, etc.
  4. Equip remote employees with meeting software that has encrypted traffic and recording. Standardize on your preferred meetings platform and disable meeting software that isn't compliant.
  5. Migrate from on-premises UC and meetings hosting, to cloud-based as subscription models.
  6. Deploy monitoring tools like IR, Nectar, Vyopta, AppDynamics and Thousand Eyes to gain visibility into the actual employee experience.

Ready to get started? Connect with your WWT account representative or contact us today. In the meantime, explore our comprehensive financial services capabilities and end-to-end approach to see how we are helping the leading global organizations be successful.